I am 1 in 5
By: Justine McNeil (@JMcNeil_)
As emotions ran high, the pills slid down my throat, the world spinning around me, and suddenly I’m 9 years old again.
The room is dark.
Everyone else my age is at the movies, having sleepovers,
But I am alone, too afraid to say a word, too afraid to make friends.
My sister is in the room next to me, but she’s too sick to come comfort me.
My head is pounding, my ears are ringing as the yelling takes over, my house threatened by the stress of work and the flames of the candles sitting on the table, left over from dinner where I became too irritated to stay.
I am 14 years old.
The hallways are empty.
Everyone else is in the cafeteria laughing,
But I am alone, eating on the cold ground, my thoughts racing with fear of my next class.
My only friend can’t talk, but she, with her four legs, is the only one who understands me.
My heart is beating, my palms are shaking as the bell rings, my solitude ended by the screaming of names and the slamming of doors that hold so much judgement, just waiting for me as their next victim.
I am 17 years old.
The phone is ringing.
Everyone else is crying, but I find myself standing numb.
I am alone, the people I once knew gone.
My friends surround me, but they can’t justify this for me.
My breath is heavy, my world is torn as I think about the three lives gone too soon. I must be strong, not show the emotions that are taking over. I must be strong, not show the scars that I cover.
I am 18 years old.
The lecture hall is silent.
Everyone else is smiling with joy,
But I am alone, looking at the page in my hands, the tears welling in my eyes.
My life is shattering around me, but I don’t know how to handle the feelings within me.
My face is hot, my mind is blurring as I think about the disappointment, my dreams shattered by one little word that defines my worth.
Father’s Day 2015,
I am 22 years old.
The room is spinning.
No one can the struggles I am facing,
I am alone, lost in a world where being different is seen as weak.
My Mom rushes into the room to comfort me, but the truth is no one understands me.
My throat is burning, my energy is fading as my life flashes before my eyes, threatened by the choice I made, not sure if I should go or if I should stay.
But how am I supposed to walk with my head held high, when they say that I have something to hide.
Their words slip off their tongues like rain when it falls, but they have no idea who these words are hurting at all.
These words, they hurt them, they hurt us, they hurt me.
I am 1 in 5 just trying to survive.